I like Pinterest. It’s fun. It’s cool. I could hang out there for hours.
But I will never be at the “Pinterest-Perfect table”. Not for crocheting. Not for cooking. Not for marriage. Not for parenting. Not for housekeeping, writing, running. Not for anything.
Let me explain…
Sidenote: Be prepared, this is one of the longest posts I’ve written in a while. Go get a cup of coffee. Maybe a blanket. Shoot, you might want to order a pizza. And – if you get to the end and think it is an anti-pinterest post, read it again. You missed the point. Anyway, I digress. Back to the post…
Recently, I started a new crochet project, and I was really, really excited!
I had new yarn, just the right needles and an idea that was going to become reality.
This, my friends, was going to be PINTEREST worthy. It was going to be pinned again, and again, and again… and I was going to be able to point to my project and say, “THIS. This is how you do it, folks!”
But about halfway through the crochet project, I saw that I’d messed up. There were holes in places that were obviously not where they were supposed to be. And I didn’t know how to fix them.
The yarn didn’t look like I thought it would. And in places, it was thinner than it should be.
I also saw that it was taking a lot longer to get my project finished than I had originally thought. I was getting tired. VERY tired. I started to give up a few times on the hot mess I had created.
It was not the perfect project like I’d planned.
Often, we look at life like I did my crochet project. We look at it as something that will turn out exactly as we imagined. Something perfect. Something that will transcend time and space, begging poets and musicians to write about us. It’s like we want to point at our marriages, our friendships, our jobs, our children and say, “See? We did it right! Perfect!”
It’s as if we want our life to be Pinterest-worthy so we can show the world how perfect it is. And if our little project goes viral? Well, that would be okay, too. Right?
Families, marriages, relationships, jobs, children… they can’t be framed, put on a shelf, or folded up in just the right way to parade in front of all the other people at the Pinterest-Perfect table.
Truth be told, if you look under that “Pinterest-perfect” table, there are wads of gum and boogers and other stuff stuck underneath, hidden from view. We hide the boogers with pretty, but fake smiles and dissuade folks from looking behind the curtain, lest they recognize the mess that is most certainly underneath the ribbons and bows. What if someone else were to recognize their own mess in our hot mess?
Relationships are hard. Jobs are hard. Parenting is hard. It all takes work. So why do we pretend that it doesn’t?
For example – marriage. Chances are, you are either married now, have been married, or know someone who is or has been married. So take another sip of your coffee and let’s talk about that topic for a minute…
Let’s be honest – marriage doesn’t always look like some steamy romance on the orient express. Sometimes it is pushing through the dirty diapers, late night arguments and early morning blahs. Sometimes marriage looks like a super-messy kitchen, rolling coins to buy groceries and trying really, really hard to sleep when your spouse’s snores have obliterated a small country.
Sometimes marriage has the excitement of a roller coaster, a day at the beach or a day hike along your favorite mountain trail. It is a snuggle on the couch, a kiss on the forehead and a whispered, “I love you” when you need it the most. It can be like your favorite t-shirt. The one with all the holes that you wear as often as possible because is it your favorite t-shirt ever. It’s got holes, it needs a good washing… like I said, it’s your favorite. Yeah… you know the one I’m talking about!
Some days, marriage can look like a stroll in the park or a game of MarioKart followed by a chocolate shake from Dairy Queen. It can look like spring cleaning and listening to the oldies, with an impromptu dance in the kitchen. Or it can look like sitting in the same room, mad as fire, refusing to talk until the other person apologizes. Yeah… it can look like all that.
The good, the bad and ugly… marriage has it all.
And unfortunately, sometimes the mess is just too much. And in those instances, sometimes there are too many holes — and they are just too big. And sometimes, there is too much ugliness… and not enough love. And if the bad outweighs the good, sometimes marriages (like all relationships) can unravel past the point of repair.
But I don’t know anyone who enjoys going through that. It’s hard and it hurts. Many people I love have walked that road — and it was not an easy one to travel. And I, for one, can’t throw any stones. Can you?
Because much like Pinterest, marriage is often full of fails. But it’s not just marriage. It’s all relationships. We can get caught up in ourselves and how our lives look to outsiders instead of focusing on how to love each other better.
We are a society full of people who need the Lord’s grace, mercy and forgiveness more than we need anything or anyone else… but we aren’t always willing to admit that. And why? Because we would have to admit that we aren’t perfect.
But life is not a project. It is an intimate journey that has to be walked in honesty. Marriage, parenting, friendships, jobs… you name it… we have to walk it together. And we have to decide not to be afraid to be real about the mess under the table — the gum, boogers, holes and all. That’s the only way it will work. It’s the only way we can grow.
As for that crochet project I started? It’s for my Pookie Bear. He asked me to make a small cover for him to put in his truck on cold days when his legs get chilly. It is complete now, and he loves it.
And guess what? It’s still not perfect. It’s got holes in places it shouldn’t. It doesn’t look like I thought it would in my head. And I’m pretty sure it’s lopsided. But…
It was made with love – and love covers a lot.
As for that Pinterest Perfect table? It doesn’t really exist. Not for marriage. Not for relationships. Not for jobs. Not even for a craft project that looks perfect to everyone else’s eyes.
Instead, we need to get to know the One who loves us in the midst of our imperfections. And He has set a table big enough for everyone…. with our boogers, holes and all. Pull up a chair. There’s plenty of room. He’s got you covered.
1 Peter 4:8-11The Message (MSG) 7-11 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
I Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.